Cecafa: Burundi frustrates Champions Uganda in Group A opener
Uganda, Burundi shoot blanks
Cranes rue missed chances as they begin title defence on wrong footing.
This was not the kind of beginning Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup defending champions Uganda Cranes were praying for.
Cranes have enviable players in their ranks. That they played in this year's most coveted football extravaganza in the continent, The Africa Cup of Nations, is a true testament of their pedigree.
But all that counted for nothing when they played Burundi in their opening Group B match yesterday at Bukhungu Stadium. They drew 0-0.
They failed to deliver at the expected moment. Their strikers were worryingly blunt as the first half produced few clear-cut chances even as they dominated the later stages of the match.
But it is Burundi, who created a few dangerous moves, with former Sofapaka striker Fiston Abdoul and Shaban Hussein keeping Cranes defenders on their toes.
This draw did not seem to go down well with Uganda coach, Moses Basena.
“I am complaining about the result, but I will not put any blame on my players. We tried hard with different formations, but they (Burundi) defended resiliently. I give them credit for that,” said Uganda coach, Moses Basena.
“It is a bit disappointing, but we also lost to Kenya in the first match of the tournament in 2015, but this is a tournament. So, the next match is a must win for us.”
His Burundian counterpart Oliver Niyungeko was, however, delighted with the point.
“Uganda is a physical team that always beats us. So, getting a point against them is a great motivation for us,” said Niyungeko.
David Nsibimba thought he had broken the deadlock for Cranes moments later only for Kenyan referee Peter Waweru to rule his thumping header offside.
Nsibimba then forced a decent block from Burundian defender Pierre Kwizera as both teams went into half-time tied 0-0.
There was a big difference in the second half with both sides pushing forward in search for the tie breaker.
Burundi had first two clear-cut chances in the opening five minutes, but Abdoul squandered them.